Muslim bashing sets off furore in US

A Hernando County commissioner said Tuesday that he is “in total agreement” with a letter his wife wrote calling Islam a “hateful, frightening religion.”

“Overall, worldwide, it certainly is,” said Commissioner Tom Hogan Sr. “Don’t you read your own paper?” He went on to say, “There’s a saying out there, and there’s some truth to it, that not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims. It’s their thing.”

The Hogans are widely considered the first couple of Hernando County’s Republican Party, and both have helped lead the party since the 1960s. Their comments earned wide condemnation Tuesday from political colleagues.

Local Muslim leaders reacted with shock and dismay, with one Islamic advocacy group saying it will call for Hogan’s ouster from the County Commission.

“We’re deeply concerned about the hateful and racist nature of these comments,” said Ahmed Bedier, executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, promising to call on Gov. Jeb Bush to remove Hogan from office.

“They can call it whatever they want to,” Mary Ann Hogan responded Tuesday. “I’m calling them barbarians.”

St Petersburg Times, 31 October 2006

Update:  “CAIR-FL: Gubernatorial candidate asked to remove Muslim-basher”, CAIR press release, 3 November 2006

Update 2:  See “FL gubernatorial candidate drops Islamophobe”, CAIR press release, 3 November 2006